The new pool-play format at this week's WGC Dell Technologies Match Play has been controversial, but it has given us at least one intriguing group this year.
Frequent Ryder Cup teammates Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed are in the same group with Haotong Li and Charl Schwartzel. Spieth said he's anticipating the challenge of facing off against Reed.
"I'm looking forward to the opportunity. He has a great match play record," Spieth said. "I've seen it firsthand when he's been at his best. And we have history together in a couple of different playoffs, which is a match play scenario. And so it will be an exciting Friday afternoon. I've got to take care of work (Wednesday) and the next day for that day to even matter. But even if it doesn't matter, trust me, it will matter to both of us.
"Yes, it will be fun. No, trash talk, I don't think, has started. Typically he's on my team trash talking, not the other side."
Even though Reed and Ian Poulter are passionate players known as good match-play competitors, Spieth doesn't think there's a specific personality type more equipped to handle that format.
"Not necessarily. I would say there's — no, because Ryan Moore and Patrick Reed are not the same person," Spieth said. "And those are the two I've mentioned today. But I would say there are some similarities to their game, the consistency — I would say the bogey avoidance is a big advantage for their games. I believe it's one that's an advantage in mine, as well.
"It's interesting, I could shoot 2-over every single round and win a WGC this week. There's a luck of the draw to it. There are some players that are phenomenal match play players that have gotten bad draw after bad draw after bad draw. That happens, too. So it's a little hard to tell, but certainly consistency plays a major factor in trying to win that many matches in a row."
Spieth has just two top-10 finishes in 2018, and hasn't finished better than ninth. He thinks the next couple events are the perfect fits to gain some momentum leading up to the Masters.
"I think going into Augusta, if you can generate momentum, whether it's a win or just strong finishes, you certainly step on the first tee there feeling a little bit better about it," Spieth said. "I've always played leading into the Masters, too, so it's kind of a nice flow for me. Even if I've missed the cut, I've had recent competitive rounds where I've been out and playing in competition.
"Houston is not exactly the best golf course for me, I haven't had a lot of success there, but I think it has been a stepping-stone in creating success at Augusta for me.
"So I'm looking to these two weeks — I'm looking forward, I'm not looking back. I've got an opportunity this week and next week to generate that momentum. I also know I've gone into Augusta off, not being in form and still had a chance to win come Sunday. So neither one makes a difference. It certainly helps that first tee getting into a rhythm if you feel good about your previous few rounds."